Physics

NASA Awards Contract for Programmatic, Institutional Assessment Capabilities

NASA has awarded a contract to Booz Allen Hamilton of Houston to provide independent programmatic and institutional assessment capabilities at the agency’s Johnson Space Center, also in Houston.

How unconventional metals behave, with an eye on high-temperature superconductors

By trapping atoms in a lattice of light, researchers explore how unconventional metals conduct electricity, with an eye toward understanding high-temperature superconductors.

Bose-Einstein condensates cannot currently detect gravitational waves

The gravitational waves created in the depths of space indeed reach Earth. Their effects, however, are so small that they could only be observed so far using kilometer-long measurement facilities. Physicists therefore discuss whether Bose-Einstein condensates with their ordered quantum properties could also detect these waves. Astronomers have now looked at these suggestions and have soberly determined that such evidence is far beyond the reach of current methods.

How bacterial communities transport nutrients

Under threat of being scrubbed away with disinfectant, individual bacteria can improve their odds of survival by joining together to form colonies, called biofilms. What Arnold Mathijssen, postdoctoral fellow in bioengineering at Stanford University, wanted to understand was how stationary biofilms find food once they've devoured nearby nutrients.

Researchers discover unusual new type of phase transformation in a transition metal

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers have discovered an unusual new type of phase transformation in the transition metal zirconium. The mechanism underlying this new type of phase transition is the first of its kind that has ever been observed, and only could be seen with the application of very high pressures. The research was recently published by Physical Review B as a Rapid Communication.

Researchers make shape shifting cell breakthrough

A new computational model developed by researchers from The City College of New York and Yale gives a clearer picture of the structure and mechanics of soft, shape-changing cells that could provide a better understanding of cancerous tumor growth, wound healing, and embryonic development.

Terahertz laser for sensing and imaging outperforms its predecessors

A new terahertz laser is the first to reach three key performance goals at once -- high constant power, tight beam pattern, and broad electric frequency tuning -- and could thus be valuable for a wide range of applications in chemical sensing and imaging.

New method gives microscope a boost in resolution

Scientists have been able to boost current super-resolution microscopy by a novel tweak. They coated the glass cover slip as part of the sample carrier with tailor-made biocompatible nanosheets that create a 'mirror effect'. This method shows that localizing single emitters in front of a metal-dielectric coating leads to higher precision, brightness and contrast in Single Molecule Localization Microscopy (SMLM).

Physicists edge closer to controlling chemical reactions

A team of researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and Aarhus University in Denmark has developed an algorithm for predicting the effect of an external electromagnetic field on the state of complex molecules. The algorithm, which is based on a theory developed earlier by the same team, predicts tunneling ionization rates of molecules. This refers to the probability that an electron will bypass the potential barrier and escape from its parent molecule.

Answering the mystery of what atoms do when liquids and gases meet

How atoms arrange themselves at the smallest scale was thought to follow a 'drum-skin' rule, but mathematicians have now found a simpler solution.

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